Greek Economy Shrank 1.5% in Second Quarter on Austerity Measures

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Greece Greek flagGreece's economy shrank 1.5% in the second quarter of the year as the government's austerity program bites.

The country's statistics agency Elstat said the "significant reduction" in public spending contributed to the worsening recession, BBC News reported. The economy contracted 0.8% in the first quarter.

"Economic activity seems to be declining at an accelerated pace due to high uncertainty and the gradual implementation of austerity measures," said Nikos Magginas, an economist at the National Bank of Greece.

The government has unveiled a collection of austerity measures since December of last year in a bid to strengthen the public finances and avoid default. The government has frozen pay for public sector workers and rolled out plans to reform the tax and pensions systems.

Greek GDP has fallen 3.5% in a year, and is expected to decline 4% in 2010, according to estimates from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
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